I have a little bike that I'm riding around "downtown Baltimore" during rush hour. There are so many cars. I have never rode around on a bike on these roads but their names are really familiar, and I think I can get to school by taking MLK past Russell and turning onto the next street. There are so many cars and people out. On my way up a little hill, I spot Nazie walking up the street in a fancy red sweater. I know I should say hi but I am going to be late for a show at school. She sees me so I have to say hi anyway, and we talk for a while.
I get to school and there is a festival going on. Shawn Phase and the Nice Nice guys are there because we are all in a band together--- but I don't really remember talking to any of them. We are playing third. First up is this Canadian emcee who is kind of popular with rap nerds. I try to like his music but it's not very exciting to me. Space 11, a local band that was semi-popular in Baltimore when I was in middle school, plays second, and John Mayer is their singer. They play for a very long time and all the school kids love them. They're really trippy and I'm kind of into it, but their keyboard player is almost 40 and I don't understand that. We play last but I don't remember how that went. I pack up my gear and push it to the side of the wall where people are sitting. I ask a black dude with dreads and glasses if he might move his rocking chair a little to the left so I could push my keyboard stand all the way against the wall. He complies without saying anything. I take my laptop with me but leave the rest of the gear and go home even though there are still people at the show. One of the people there is Katie Rose.
I have rented some of my equipment and so I take it back to the school store, which is down on the first level. The school is Carroll Manor Elementary, only slightly enlarged, and the students are all the same students I attended Carroll Manor with who would also later go to my high school, although they are now college-aged. I return 3 things to him, among them a mouse and some weird internet box to the guy at the school store – he is maybe forty years old. He seems unhappy that the mouse has the sticky remnants of a removed sticker on the top of it. I ask him if I can rent all the same pieces for 7 days and he says yes, so I pay him to get the things back.
The next evening we have to do the same thing, play the same show at the same place. I am surprised that the opening emcee is beginning his set with the exact same song he began it with yesterday, and I assume he is going to play the exact same set and I decide that, for this, he sucks. However, his third song is a slow, Radiohead-like slow jam and Jason B. comes up and tells me that this guy is terrible, and I don't feel so bad about not liking it either. While the second band is playing, I start packing up my gear. Shawn Phase walks by me and he has cut his hair, but he doesn't say anything to me. I put the gear against the wall again but forget to take my laptop with me.
I go to homeroom, then a bell rings and I go to class. There are folders on most of the desks so I know someone is sitting there. I try to find a desk with no folder. First I try sitting across from Kristen Lowe, but I notice that somebody else's folder is there, so I get up and look around again, eventually finding Andy Sanders motioning for me to sit next to him. I look inside of the desk and it's full of art supplies and tiny colored light bulbs. I realize I haven't done my homework, and thinking about it, realize that I never do homework because I have stopped going to math and science classes entirely, and that I only go to English where the homework is pretty easy and I can usually do it before class starts in my seat. I am the only person who is missing these classes every time but I am getting away with it because everyone is very busy and focused on school all the time, teachers and students.